For the sixth year in a row, all residents at Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center are receiving gifts from Santa this Christmas.
It will be the man from the North Pole who will be distributing the presents on Dec. 23 at 2 p.m. during the annual Christmas party hosted by the facility. But it’s the generous people who “adopt” the men and women at the rehab center through the giving Tree at Precision Automotive on Moffat Boulevard just south of Manteca High School who make it all possible every year.
The process is simple. The giving Tree at Precision Auto is decorated with “bulb” ornaments. Each bulb has a name of each patient at Manteca Rehab, including their gender, on one side and their Christmas wishes on the other side. The items on each wish list are things that many people take for granted. One female resident lists three items – perfume, body wash, and lotions. Another is simply asking from Santa hair clips, candy, and word-search puzzles.
Of course, one can always give more than that. “We tell (donors), whatever you can give,” explained Manteca Care & Rehab activities director Debbie Robles.
The suggested list “just means whatever they can get. You don’t have to buy all that stuff. They’re just suggestions. But you’d be surprised how much they (the residents) appreciate all this stuff.”
When they hear their name called by Santa, “they get all excited, and they’ll say, ‘oh, a present for me?’ It surprises them, so it’s very exciting for them. They love it,” added Robles.
Families of residents are invited to attend the Christmas party, but “there’s a lot that don’t have any family. That’s why we do this, to make them feel like they’re family. They (the parties) show that we are family here, that they’re not forgotten,” she said.
There will be some carolers serenading the residents and all guests at the Christmas party. Refreshments courtesy of Manteca Care will be served as well to everybody.
Many staff members as well as volunteers also “adopt” some of the residents at Christmas. A place called Second Chance in Manteca gets some patients’ names for Christmas as well.
Robles said they don’t expect Precision Auto to do it every year, especially with the economy still in the process of rebounding and many people are still feeling the economic pinch.
“So we’re thankful that she (Shelley Kohl of Precision Auto) still continues to do this. They are wonderful people,” Robles said of the owners of the automotive shop which has been displaying the Giving Tree every Christmas for more than half a decade.
Even before the Giving Tree was set up by Chris and Shelley Kohl at their auto shop, people were already asking, ”where’s the tree?” Robles said.
This year, the bulbs were made by Robles and staff at Manteca Care.
To “adopt” a resident for Christmas, just pick up a bulb or to, or more, during Precision Auto’s regular business hours which is Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
For any questions about the Giving Tree, call Precision Auto, located at 475 Moffat Blvd., at 239.8266.